Waking up the next morning I saw that Garuba was already showered. He was bare chested looking into the huge mirror on the inside of the open closet door, with his back turned to me. I realised that he must have tiptoed around the room since he got out of bed, trying not to disturb me. Watching him from where I lay in bed, an inexplicable warmth welled up inside of me, a warm feeling that was reaching out to him, a yearning to feel his hard warmth pressing against me, a longing to hear him breathing close to, no into my ear...I desired him with an intensity I had not known before.. And it was in response to this powerful feeling that I heard myself croak...."Garuba, please come, please.." Garuba turned around surprised, seeing that I was now awake. Clearly he had thought I was still asleep and the expression on his face was as if he thought he had disturbed me. While still lying down I held out my hand to him and in my early morning grogginess tried to reassure him by managing a small smile. Garuba smiled back and came to the bed. He sat down and I put my arms around his shoulders and gently pulled him down towards me, his firm hairy chest pressing down against me in the bed. "I really do love you, Garuba..." I heard myself whisper into his ear as I wrapped my arms around his neck. And then we both lost ourselves in the whirlwind of passion.
What a wonderful way to start a Saturday morning, I thought to myself afterwards..
After breakfast, we set out in search of accommodation for me. As we turned into the street Garuba said that this morning his father had hinted at some concern about how long I was staying at their house. He was tactful the way he put it to me, but I was smart enough to appreciate the fullness of his meaning. We were both in agreement that the problem with accommodation must be resolved today, so it was with a determination that we drove into town, to Yelwa Road and the office of Mahmoud an estate agent who Garuba knew. Mahmoud was very talkative and my first impression of him was not a good one. He had shifty eyes of the kind that normally would put me on guard. But I had to rely on the fact that Garuba thought he was the best estate agent in town. Yes, there was a place available, further down Yelwa Road, opposite the police station. In fact, Alhaji Yahaya the owner of the property was expected any minute at Mahmoud's office with the keys. A newly completed property, a three bedroom bungalow which the landlord was eager to let. Mahmoud went on to tell us that there was somebody else interested in it. However she wished to share the place if possible, since she was single and had no need for such a large house. The point was, would I consider a house share with her? It was a tough one because although the rent was right, I had never met this person with whom I was to share the house. That I was expected to make such a major decision on the spur of the moment seemed to me rather unfair. Garuba stepped in just then, my personal gladiator. The first thing surely, he insisted, is that I should be given a chance to view the house and if possible meet the potential housemate before I was required to make a decision. Mahmoud not wanting to lose potential business suggested that we should hold on while he tried to contact Alhaji Yahaya the landlord.
It wasn't very long before Alhaji Yahaya arrived in front of Mahmoud's office building in his shiny new Peugeot. With considerable effort he heaved his massive bulk out of the car and waddled into the front office where Garuba and I sat side by side. Speaking in that breathless manner of the terribly obese, Alhaji Yahaya apologised to Mahmoud who had by then come out of his inner office to greet him. After the introductions and Mahmoud's explanation that we were looking to view his property, it was decided that all four of us would go to the property for the viewing. Mahmoud would travel in Alhaji Yahaya's car, while we drove in Garuba's. As expected it was a nice house, well built, brand new and it smelt of paint. But it was not as large as Mahmoud had described it, although Garuba liked the fact that it had a high wall around it on three sides, and a chain link fence in front that was topped with barbed wire. He also noted that the house was directly across the road from the police station, which he thought was a good thing. Frankly, I couldn't understand Garuba's seeming fixation on security. The way I saw it, I as a person would be of little interest to anyone and I possessed no valuables worth mentioning. I was only a youth corper and for the next year or so I would be taking home about $200 each month. Just enough to live on, but not for much else.
We viewed inside the house. Of the three bedrooms only two were available for me to choose from. The front bedroom was already taken by the lady who was to be my housemate. I suspected that the front bedroom was the large one because the other two were tiny. Garuba picked the one further back from the front bedroom, its single window facing to the rear of the building and the small yard between the building itself and the brick wall that surrounded the property. The house came unfurnished, so there was basic furniture to be purchased. Garuba took me aside and quietly drummed it into me that I was unlikely to find a place better than this for the rent being offered. He said he'd seen that I wasn't enthusiastic, but that I should accept this place and see how it goes. There was always the option of moving elsewhere if after staying here for a while I found that I didn't like it. There was an earnestness to the way Garuba spoke to me about it, so by the time he'd finished talking I'd already made up my mind that this would be my new home, for the time being at least. As we left the house, Garuba informed Mahmoud that I would be taking the house and it was arranged for us to return to Mahmoud's office later in the day so that I would meet my new housemate.
We had some time to ourselves before the scheduled meeting at Mahmoud's office, so we drove to the Awalah Hotel and the outdoor seating area in the shade under those lovely acacia trees. Sipping a chilled fruity Chapman cocktail with Garuba sitting across from me, feeling the warm breeze on my face and the sound of the breeze as it blew through the branches above of us, I felt wonderful. I had found Garuba to be a man of few words. A man who spoke only when necessary and usually because he had something important to say to me. Most of the time he just stared and smiled as he was doing now, but I could see the softness in his eyes. This man loves me, I thought to myself. Even when we didn't say much to each other, just being together was enough..
We drove back to Mahmoud's office and arrived there shortly after noon. In the front room was seated a couple, a man and a woman, obviously southerners. Mahmoud came rushing out of his office and in his talkative manner introduced the couple. The lady was Ukpong and she would be my housemate. The man was Abu, her boyfriend. However, Abu wouldn't be staying at the house since he worked in Jos. I shook hands with Ukpong and introduced Garuba as a "close friend". I didn't like Ukpong. She looked fake and acted pretentious. When I mentioned this to Garuba later, he rebuked me sternly and told me never to jump to conclusions about people until I'd got to know them. He and Abu had had a fairly convivial chat, in Hausa of course, so I had understood not a word of what was spoken. But they smiled at each other and seemed to share a few jokes. I had been cold towards Ukpong. I didn't like that woman! I didn't take to her at all..
Anyway arrangements were concluded, the rent money was paid and the keys were handed over. Ukpong was to move in immediately, on the same day. Garuba and I knew that I needed a few items, including very importantly a bed, and stuff for the kitchen. So we decided that we would spend the rest of the afternoon doing the shopping that was necessary, which we did and then returned to his place in the evening, tired and hungry. It was to be my last night with Garuba in his room and we spent it quietly together, always being within reach of each other, maintaining body contact constantly...